Pell Grants

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The recent federal Omnibus bill includes a provision that allows the Secretary of Education to cut Pell grants, the leading scholarship program for students from middle- and low-income families. The Education Department plans to cut all aid to 90,000 students now receiving Pell grants, and decrease aid to an additional 1.2 million students. However, if recent history is any indication, the cuts will be more draconian than advertised.

The White House insisted on the measure to cut Pell grants, making Bush’s campaign promise to raise the level of Pell grants just another weapon of mass destruction. The cuts will only save taxpayers at best $300 million a year, in the face of recent tax breaks that will give $30 billion a year to the richest 1% of America. This spring the White House plans to once again request budget cuts in education and health, while seeking a $70 billion supplement for Iraq.

Of course, the government will play righteous indignation tag. Senators who passed the Omnibus package will claim they never suspected the Secretary of Education would cut Pell grants, despite mandating the authority to do so. The Education Department will place the onus on the Senate, despite the fact incoming Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings co-authored No Child Left Behind, the deliberately under-funded federal program that has helped bankrupt states, schools and students.

Thus, if you voted Republican and have a Pell grant, you probably just voted to end your education. Perhaps you should have done your homework instead.

Kyle TuckerOronogo, MO417-642-5202